Coding for Beginners

Introduction

Learn to code

The most difficult challenge with learning to code is knowing where to start. If you’re a beginner a the start of your coding journey, fear not! Programming is challenging, but start right and you’ll reap the rewards. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the basic concepts of programming and explain how to approach your learning.

Introduction

You’re clearly curious about becoming a coder, otherwise, you wouldn’t have found yourself here – but why should you learn to code? According to research by the World Economic Forum, 133 million tech roles could be generated through the global need for technological skills by 2022. Programming, known as coding, is central to this forecasted innovation and growth in technology. And while machines and algorithms will continue to shift the share of work, the very human ability to think creatively and solve problems ensure strong software developers and engineers will enjoy job security for many more decades to come.

How do I start programming?

As a thriving tech and talent hub, the team here at _nology are all too familiar with the barriers which beginners in programming come up against. Programming’s perceived difficulty, largely purported by stereotypes and the traditional tech recruitment requirements of a STEM background, has often deterred people from considering a career in technology. While science, technology, engineering and maths skills are certainly advantageous, at _nology our experience reveals anyone with the commitment, motivation, and creativity to solve problems can learn to code.

We’ve outlined a five-step approach to coding as a complete beginner:

1 – Set out with the right mindset

Sounds obvious, but discredit this and your coding career could be shortlived! Most people don’t pursue coding because they think because they failed in maths, or didn’t successfully graduate from their computer science or engineering degree that they aren’t clever enough to learn to programme. This simply isn’t the case! To learn to code, you need to be prepared to be confronted with concepts which upon introduction don’t make any sense to you in the slightest. This happens a lot, and something you will need to embrace as part of your learning. Over time as you grasp each concept and apply it to your projects, you’ll accumulate knowledge in the building blocks needed to create computer programs and software, and the experience of how to apply them effectively.

2 – Choose a programming language

Which programming language do you learn first? This question is among the most frequently asked here at _nology, and one which doesn’t have one simple answer. As technology evolves, programming languages fall in and out of favour, and the most useful one depends entirely on which job you’re doing or what your building. Let’s say, your learning to program to build websites: a good commercial application of coding. HTML, CSS and Javascript are key programming languages in a web developer’s toolbox and are useful places to get started.

Try your hand at Javascript using our Learn to Code guide.

3 – Get to grips with Algorithms and Data Structures

Once you’ve grasped the basics of programming, you can start thinking about algorithms and data structures: likely to be the hardest thing to wrap your head around. They are the building blocks of programming languages, and a comprehensive understanding will serve you well should you wish to pursue software development in a professional environment.

4 – Create and complete projects

It’s not enough to complete a few video tutorials, you need to put your new-found knowledge into practice, and apply it to projects which you find engaging. Given that the most successful software developers are the ones who create software which people use, building applications will encourage you to start thinking from a user perspective and gain experience of real-world programming.

Plus, if it’s a job your after, presenting projects you’ve completed will be instrumental in getting on the development career ladder. It shows your self-motivated, curious and creative – core pillars of a great developer in our eyes!

5 – Get a mentor

Find a friend or a mentor who can test your software or be there for you as a sounding board upon which you can explain what you’re doing, what your goal is and any problems you’ve got stuck in. If you’ve coded yourself into a corner, a mentor can be the difference from falling into a pit of confusion and despair so deep you can no longer claw yourself out of it to finding the solution. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can identify a wrong turn through discussing your problem out loud.

There are also websites which offer problems to solve including Topcoder, Hackerrank and SPOJ. This kind of competitive programming is a brilliant way to get practice in and increase the difficulty of problems incrementally as you progress.

So, five steps which outline the best way to begin your coding mission as a beginner. There is no one perfect or correct road to follow when you’re starting out, but we hope this guide has provided a clear outline of what you should consider if you want to learn to code.

If a career is your eventual goal to your interest in coding, speak to our Admissions Team today to find out more about how _nology can take you from beginner to Junior Developer in just 12 weeks. Our Taster days in Bristol and London are designed specifically with curious beginners in mind, to introduce you to a career in tech and invite you to build an app in an afternoon.

Free Taster Days

Come and learn to code a web app, and get a glimpse into the day in the life of a _nologist. We’re a friendly bunch here at _nology: with plenty of professional advice to share with anyone curious about the job potential of learning to code. If you’re inspired by the prospects of a career which is not only creative and challenging but rewarding too - join us at one of our free taster days in Bristol or London.

Become a developer in 12 weeks

Feeling inspired by a career in tech? Sign up to learn more about joining our 12-week tech training course. Book a call today, and introduce yourself to the _nology team!